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Southeast Missouri State University

Lower Division Courses

The primary function of lower division courses is to begin making independent learners of students.  Lower division courses increase the knowledge students have of subjects with which they are already familiar, introduce them to new subjects, and/or establish a foundation for them to study a major subject in depth. 
Lower division courses usually are tightly structured with the expectation that students are to receive considerable instructional guidance in the learning process.  As with all courses, the structure of lower division courses is reflected in the course syllabus.  Instruction at the lower division level normally is informational and emphasizes learning skills; it usually entails the use of text materials or resources provided by the instructor.  The intellectual skills emphasized in lower division courses include comprehension, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and application of knowledge, but these competencies are not stressed to the same degree they are in upper division courses.  Evaluation of student performance at this level tests information, concepts, and skills. 

Lower division courses are numbered 100 and 200. Typically they require no prerequisite background in the discipline.  They also may have one or more of the following characteristics: 

  • They are introductory courses or part of a series of basic courses in a discipline. 
  • In some professional fields, they may build on the foundations of prerequisite collegiate courses. 
  • They are courses that may be counted on majors, minors, electives, and/or the University Studies program.

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